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In situ control of effective Kerr nonlinearity with Pockels integrated photonics

Abstract

Nanophotonic cavities with Kerr nonlinearities are a versatile platform both to explore fundamental physics and to develop practical photonic technologies1,2,3. This is possible because nanoscale structures allow precise dispersion control and provide significant field enhancement. To improve the functionality and performance of photonic devices even further, direct control of the Kerr nonlinearity would be desirable. Here, we report the in situ control of integrated Kerr nonlinearity through its interplay with the cascaded second-order nonlinear process4,5,6,7,8,9. We observe a Fano resonance in the nonlinear spectrum rather than in the linear transmission10, confirming the quantum interference between competing optical nonlinear pathways. The Kerr nonlinearity is tuned over a dynamic range of 10 dB without modifying the photonic structure. We also demonstrate the suppression of the intrinsic material nonlinearity and we use the tunable nonlinearity to control the spectral brightness and coincidence-to-accidental ratio of single-photon generation.

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Fig. 1: Effective Kerr nonlinearity with cascaded Pockels process.
Fig. 2: Enhancement of Kerr nonlinearity.
Fig. 3: Quantum interference between nonlinear processes.
Fig. 4: Continuous tuning of Kerr nonlinear strength in the quantum regime.

Data availability

Source data are provided with this paper. All other data that support the plots within this paper and other findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.

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Acknowledgements

L.F. acknowledges support from the US Department of Energy, Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research, (Field Work Proposal ERKJ355), the Office of Naval Research (N00014-19-1-2190), the National Science Foundation (ECCS-1842559, CCF-190791), the NSF Center for Quantum Networks, AFOSR (FA9550-21-1-0225) and the II-VI foundation. C.C. acknowledges support from the National Science Foundation (ECCS-1842559). L.Z. acknowledges support from AFOSR (FA9550-21-1-0225). Device fabrication was performed in the OSC cleanrooms at the University of Arizona and the cleanroom of Arizona State University. Superconducting nanowire single-photon detectors are supported by NSF MRI INQUIRE.

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Contributions

C.C. and L.F. conceived the idea, designed the experiment and analysed the data. L.Z. designed and fabricated the device. C.C. derived the theoretical model and performed the measurement. L.F. supervised the work.

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Correspondence to Linran Fan.

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Nature Physics thanks Thiago Alegre and the other, anonymous, reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

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Supplementary Sections 1–3 and Figs. S1–S5.

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Cui, C., Zhang, L. & Fan, L. In situ control of effective Kerr nonlinearity with Pockels integrated photonics. Nat. Phys. 18, 497–501 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41567-022-01542-x

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